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“Salt & Ice Challenge” Injures Local 12-Year-Old

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Source: KDKA-TV) Dr. Maria Simbra
Dr. Maria Simbra is an Emmy award-winning medical journalist, who...
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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s dangerous, it’s tempting and it’s on YouTube.

And now, the salt and ice challenge has injured a local 12-year-old boy, all because of a dare.

“Besides applying the salt and the ice, somebody has to be putting pressure,” says Dr. Ariel Aballay, a burn specialist at West Penn Hospital, pointing to pictures of a cross-shaped burn. “It has been only a few hours since the injury happened; the second one is 48 to 72 hours after the injury. You can see now there are blisters present.”

The injury happened Friday. He was treated Monday at the West Penn Hospital Burn Center – antibiotics on the skin and pain control. The blistering second degree burns on his back will heal over the next several weeks.

Because of the way salt and water interact, when salt comes in contact with ice – which is frozen water – the freezing point of the ice is lowered as the salt gets dissolved.

This takes energy from what’s nearby. If your skin is nearby, this energy is heat pulled from your skin, and you get a burn similar to frostbite.

“There are risks. You could end up having surgery or a scar for the rest of your life,” says Dr. Aballay. “If something is causing a lot of pain, probably not a good idea to do it.”

The family did not wish to disclose the boy’s identity, but in a statement says the Internet clips do not accurately show the terrible injuries that can result.

They are grateful their son is recovering, and they hope sharing his story will stop others from trying this stunt.

Health officials are talking about this to show the public the danger. Do not try this at home.

Other cases have been in other cities. This was the first case like this that the West Penn Burn Unit has seen. Unfortunately, it’s possible there could be more in the future.

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